Saturday, March 03, 2007

Two great movies in one week!

I'm not always here to hype books. Honest. Right now I'm between books. I have a whole batch of edits coming up, and I have a work in progress. So I've needed a break. One of the ways I take a break is by reading. Another is by watching movies.

I'm what my mother would have called a "fuss-budget" when it comes to movies. I'm very particular. To get lost in a movie, I need good acting based on a good script interpreted through good direction. I love drama, comedy, horror, long as it comforms to my criteria. Most of the films on my favorites list date back some years. Even decades. Many people haven't heard of them. It isn't often I come across one I find truly captivating, in every sense, and want to see again and again.

This past week, I came upon two. Now mind you, my S.O. and I are too cheap to go to theaters. We wait for stuff to show up on PPV. I'm willing to shell out $3.99 to watch something that's caught my interest via trailers and reviews. Usually, I end up more or less liking it. Sometimes, I end up feeling disappointed. Rarely, I end up frothing with enthusiasm. This week I "frothed" over my PPV choice as well as a made-for-tv movie.

The! Not a brilliant film--not a Midnight Cowboy or Taxi Driver--but utterly enchanting. I won't go into the atmospheric score, setting, cinematography; I won't effuse over Edward Norton's acting. I adored them all. But I was particularly caught up by the deft shading of expert trickery with genuine, incomprehensible magic and the resulting guessing game that was never resolved. I think I watched the movie three times in a row (thank goodness for those All Day Tickets!) Made me wonder when and how and why the natural--in this case, manifested as adroit illusion--crosses over into the supernatural.

Then, tonight, we happened upon Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride on the Oxygen network. Kudos to them for taking on this story! No beautiful people, no standard romance, no predictable plot with well defined moral parameters. The movie (and the novel, I suspect, although I haven't yet read it) had no hero and no heroine. How utterly refreshing! Again, appearance constantly warred with reality. This examination of "normal" human nature subjected to a bizarre "extreme" of human nature, and the resulting alchemical transformations, was absorbing.

If you can, try to see these two cinematic delights. I'm still kind of reeling (no pun) from both of them.

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